Chinese killed in major traffic accident in N. Korea

Chinese killed in major traffic accident in N. Korea

The article and headline has been amended to reflect comments by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Chinese tourists have been involved in a major transportation accident in North Korea and there are a large number of casualties, China's foreign ministry said on Monday.

The crash took place in North Korea's North Hwanghae province, to the south of the capital Pyongyang. It said China had dispatched a medical team accompanied by diplomats to assist the North Korean side.

Footage on Chinese language state broadcaster CCTV confirmed the mangled wreckage of a bus at midnight with rain falling.

It showed at least one person being treated in hospital, but gave no details of casualties.

Meanwhile, travel industry sources also allegedly confirmed to NK News on Monday that more than 30 people have died in a tour bus crash in North Korea.

China is North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite Beijing's anger at Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests and support for strong United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

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The vast majority of foreign tourists to North Korea are Chinese, with the Cold War-era allies sharing a long land border and operating flights between the two countries.

Last month North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on his first official visit outside the country, and will follow it up this week with a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Western visitors to the North once averaged around 5,000 a year, but numbers have been hit recently by a USA travel ban - Americans accounted for around 20 percent of the market - and official warnings from other countries.

The ministry described the four North Koreans killed as "workers".

Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists are believed to visit the North every year, with many crossing via train through the Chinese border city of Dandong.

North Korean roads are often bumpy and poorly maintained.

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